Step 24: Monster
Step 24: Monster
Cloud's hair is white; it's a very dull and boring white. He tried to bleach off the pink, which he stills believes was Reno's fault alone, and failed to recover his blond. I think he plans to dye his hair again, I wish him he worse of luck.
That voice I heard in my head hasn't come back, maybe I just imagined it. Things are relatively calm at Shinra, which is a welcomed change. Then again, maybe nothing changed at headquarters, maybe I was the one who changed, becoming more tolerant of Rufus being spoiled, Tseng being a workaholic, Elena being too talkative, Reno being more insane than I ever was and Rude being... well... rude.
"Seph, look what I have!" I should say that Reno can be very rude at times, but it sounds like an ironic contradiction given the sharp contrast between Reno and Rude.
"Reno, do not shove things in people's faces," I scold as firmly, but at the same time, as gently as I can, I don't want him to throw a tantrum.
"Things?!" Great, he's throwing a tantrum anyway. "My baby is not a thing."
This catches my attention, though I'm certain the blur of red I saw was not a human child, perhaps a sort of pet. Summoning all my patience I take a deep breath, maybe I'm not used to Reno's insanity after all. "I apologize to your... baby."
"He forgives you," Reno merrily declares.
I identify the creature he's holding as a little red bird, "is that a chicobo?"
"The best chicobo in the world, he's the same color as my hair," though I'm certain Reno knows noting about chocobos and chicobos, he sounds very much convinced that this little one is the best. "Isn't he cute?"
I stare at the little red blob, tiny enough to fit in the palm of Reno's hand. This one is quite puny, even for a new born. It stares back at me and chirps in a high pitched voice. It's very loud for such a miniature creature. "Yes, cute..." I have little knowledge of what cute is, but in general terms, I think a brightly colored, microscopic, squeaky, baby animal should fit the profile.
"I need to name him, I've been asking around for ideas, but no one has come up with a name I like and I have name block right now," Reno rambles, he does that often. "I want to name him soon; I wouldn't want the little guy to have an identity crisis."
I freeze; an identity crisis? It's not like the chicobo will grow up to be a very strange, mutant chocobo who thinks he's a monster. It's not like he'll question his existence wondering if he was created in a laboratory and mutated by mako. It's not like he'll believe he's the child of a fossil, it's not like he'll try to take over the world, it's not like he'll summon meteor. That chicobo is not a monster, but what am I? Who am I?
There's fire, there's fire everywhere, in the town and even in the reactor. There isn't supposed to be fire there. There are capsules with monsters, they're breaking out, is this truly a memory from Nibelheim? Those monsters, they look like me, they're coming towards me, but there's fire, they're catching aflame, but they keep walking towards me. No, don't come any closer, don't come, they're burning, I'm burning! "Fire! Flames! Blaze!"
These images, why now? I was fine a second ago. There's something wrong, there's something here, in this building. I can feel it, something bad is here. The president is in danger, I'm a Turk; I need to protect the president. I'm Sephiroth of the Turks, that's all I need to know, I'll focus on that. I grip my sword and run.
"Seph, come back!"
I need to get to the president, why is Reno trying to stop me? He's a Turk too; he's my ally, isn't he? Unless he's someone else in disguise; I raise my sword and the little chicobo chirps curiously, there's not a single hint of fright in his tiny feathery face. I can't hurt him.
My head hurts, I run again, I need to get to the last floor. Reno is yelling something, "emergency!" Yes, that's right, there's an emergency, a big emergency; tell the others that the Turks are needed. We have a mission, we have to protect Shinra, we have to protect Rufus, protect him from danger; protect him from the monster.
The monster, where's the monster? I made it to the last floor and kicked the door open, I'm in the president's office; he's in danger. Where's the monster? Is that it, straight ahead? I raise my sword, my eyes glowing with fury, "die!"
"Stop!" Their voices echo, Rufus, Reno, Tseng, Elena and even Rude.
Then there's another voice, a woman's voice, "please don't kill me..." She has brown hair and green eyes, watery green eyes, she's crying. "Please, don't..." She's wearing pink. "Monster, don't kill me, you terrible monster!"
I must exterminate the monster, if I don't kill him, he'll kill her; the monster will kill Aeris. I'm trembling, why? I can't hesitate, I need to kill the monster, but I'm the monster. I feel pain, a sharp stab. I look at myself, there's blood and a sword, a long sword, my sword, my Masamune. Why did I do this to myself? Is it because I'm a monster? Everything is turning dark...
xoxox xox xoxox
When I open my eyes I still feel pain, "don't move," Reno is the first to speak, they're all here. He picks up that same little chicobo from before and holds him protectively, "he made a nest with your hair while you were sleeping; I hope you don't mind."
I don't reply, my eyes go from one person to another, Reno, the chicobo, Tseng, Elena, Rude, Rufus, "Aeris?" My eyelids feel heavy, is this anesthesia? Am I tied up?
The woman retreats, "Miss Talic, please wait outside," Rufus suppressed his evident stress, trying to sound as calm as possible.
"Sir, I... Is it safe? Is it really alright to have him here?" The woman questions. She's not Aeris, not Aeris at all, but she has brown hair and green eyes and she's wearing a pink dress shirt and she has a choker with a pink rhinestone covered letter A, is that her name's initial too?
"We'll handle this," Tseng assures in Rufus' place before the president loses his cool. "Please miss, wait outside; Elena, go with her." They probably want to bribe her into silence, she's lucky this isn't the old Shinra.
Elena nods; "yes..." she gives me one last glance of sympathy before leading the other woman out of the infirmary.
My head hurts; I don't know what came over me. I almost killed that woman and I don't even know who she is, probably an innocent secretary delivering some documents to Rufus. My head really hurts.
Rufus takes a deep breath like a father scolding his child for his own good, except I don't know this from experience, because my childhood was anything but normal. I just imagine that it might be this way. "As of now, you are suspended from the Turks till further notice." I remained quiet, my eyes focused on Rufus, I'm not going to argue with his decision. "You are required to complete a special training and if your performance is satisfactory, I'll consider reinstating you to the Turks." I don't think it's a good idea for me to be around people, or to be a Turk, but I don't argue.
"I understand..." My voice is barely audible and it's a lie, I don't understand anything. Things were going well and I was finally relaxing; I was actually enjoying my life. What came over me? There was danger, I sensed it, there was definitely something wrong. Was it all just me? Is the only real problem in my head? I closed my eyes and drifted back into a nightmare infested uneasy sleep.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII. Behold; another plot chapter! There's a reason why Seph went haywire, it will all be revealed as the story moves along.